Report by Rafael Angulo
Well guys the race was amazing. It had all the excitement a world event could have. The drivers were all claming for the top spot in qualifying but at the end of the day the P1 position belonged to the 7-time world champ Lamberto Collari. He was awesome. He was hard to beat in this race. The start of the race was interesting as the 1st and 2nd positions regulated themselves to the 4th and 5th spots.
Dario Balestriâ€™s awesome capture of the lead was followed by Mark Green. 3rd position was Keisuka Fukuda who was very fast. Lamberto and Salemi were battling for the 4th and 5th spot when a tap with another car broke his right rear light weight dog bone. He uses these to give him less unsprung weight and faster acceleration. He was in the race for a few laps when this happened. He thinks it was caused by a radio hit. But as you know the race was under radio impound so there were no radios in the pits. Not to mention there were no one in the pits. There were like 3000 spectators there.
The battle between the leader Dario Balestri and Mark green was too awesome. Dario had the clear power advantage as his Nova Rossi powered Motonica car was ripping through the straight and then into the infield. Mark Green had to play it cool and let the pit strategy and clean consistent lines do its job. Dario had to pit at 4:20 where Mark was pitting at the 5:00 mark. Marks strategy was to win the race and not to turn the fastest lap. Mark went with a single tire change and 5:00 stops and Dario was going to have a 2-tire change and 4:20 stops. Dario was in a fierce battle with Mark when at about the 20-minute mark his car was out of tires and in need of a set of fresh tires. His mechanic stretched him out to the 27-minute mark to extend the tires as they noticed we were only doing one tire change. At this part of the race these two drivers were the only ones fighting for the 1st position.
Mark wanted to change tires as late as possible so his second set could make to the end easy. At the 27-minute mark Dario came in to change tires and went down 2 laps to Mark Green. Mark for the next 8 minutes would hold the lead impressively as Dario was ripping up the track looking to make up time on Mark. At 35min Mark Green comes in to do his fuel stop and his tire change. Mark came in very smooth and I fueled the car and took a little longer because one of the front tires would not go on correctly. Â Partly my fault but the tire went on and he went out right behind Dario. Marks car takes almost five minutes to the settle the new tires because of there large size and Dario is able to pull a seven second lead. Mark comes in on the 40 min mark for his fuel and goes out 5 seconds behind Dario. This is were the chase begins because Mark Greens car is running real good at this point and his long pit strategy is coming into full affect. Dario was starting to run out of tires at about the 47 minutes and Mark was closing in on Dario. There pit guys seeing Green closing in and watching Dario’s performance going away decide that when they came in for fuel they would not change the 4 tires but the right rear only. When the did that Dario came back out .5 seconds ahead of Greens car and the battle got really hot.
Dario now had one fresh tire and 3 old tires. He was still fast. He was driving the wheels off the car wearing what tires he had left trying to keep the pressure on Mark to see if he would crack. Mark drove amazing the whole race and this was now the point where drivers and mechanics work very hard to have something in the reserve to win at the end. At this point Mark was puling away seeing how Dario was out of tires and had to do an extra fuel stop. Mark pulls into the pits at the 55 min mark to do his last fuel stop. Dario was doing everything to stop Mark but with a car with no tires and also a broken body mount would prove hard to beat and eventually was lapped by Mark when he cam in for his last fuel stop. Mark Green finished the race one lap ahead of Dario Balestri with Marco Vanni and Walter Salemi a few laps back.
This was too awesome to describe totally. We had cheering crowds of up to 3000 people there in the grand stands and at the Worlds track in Argentina, which is the home of the World Rally racing Top honors go to Mark Green and Team Serpent. I would like to thank the great people of the Cordoba R/C Club. Juan Cienna did an awesome job with the organization of the track and all of its activities. Congrats to the Argentine Recio Sebastian for his top ten position and thanks to Federico from Novarossi for the 359 horsepower.